Jan 26, 2012

Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO SM) is dedicated to helping people gain access to knowledge critical to improving their lives...

Home page for SAWBO - http://sawbo.illinois.edu/
Video source: http://sawbo-illinois.org/OnlineMaterials/VIDEO/SAWBOproject/EN/
SAWBOsm's Youtube channel - videos produced: http://www.youtube.com/user/SAWBOsm#g/u
My take away:
Key to success is what is taught...    I am in hope it will be lower input, greater production, sustainable permaculture...   but I have some doubts...    I think this type of teaching tool, utilizing animated videos, viewable on cell phones to educate masses, is a great idea which could  be used to teach sustainable methods, "Permaculture Building Block Technologies".   Monte
Educational Animations Work to Better Quality of Life

Saving lives one animation at a time?

Scientific Animations without Borders (SAWBO), established out of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (Illinois), is utilizing animated videos viewable on cell phones to educate populations in developing countries.

SAWBO, originating in 2010, is a program to create animations that educate people in developing countries in areas such as health, agriculture, and disaster-relief. These two minute videos are accessible through cell phones, allowing the videos to reach a widespread audience in a cost-effective way. When targeting a diversity of language and cultural groups educational animations become much cheaper than filming, and narration can easily be recorded in any language.

With 793 million illiterate adults in the world, according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency, SAWBO’s animations have the potential to provide educational materials appropriate for this population, as well.

Barry Pittendrigh, Illinois entomology professor, said, “Cell phones that can both play videos and have Bluetooth technology are key to changing how we can deploy information.”

The animations are hosted on an online sharing system called the Sustainable Development Virtual Knowledge Interface, making it possible for videos to be easily downloaded by local educators onto computers, which can then be placed on cell phones and delivered to the community with Bluetooth technology.

About 1.6 billion people, or a quarter of the world population, live without electricity in their homes, but more than 70 percent of the world's cell phone subscriptions are in developing countries, according to mobiThinking.

One of the first video focused on how to protect cowpeas, a staple in many parts of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, from insects, using local plants such as neem seeds or common materials, such as plastic bags or sheets. Another animation illustrates how to boil or treat water to avoid exposure to cholera, as seen below. All videos are available in multiple languages.

Currently, these videos are being tested in the field in multiple African countries. This work is supported by the Dry Grains Pulses CRSP and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Pittendrigh said that the feedback from the field has been highly positive. One suggestion that the team is taking into consideration is having other ways to implement these videos besides limiting them to just cell phones.

“For example, in West Africa, video viewing clubs have emerged in rural areas. Based on this feedback we are developing an online sharing system for a diversity of file formats, such that the videos can be downloaded and delivered through a variety of different approaches and on different electronic devices,” he explained.

Pittendrigh believes the SAWBO animations could be beneficial in the state of Illinois and the United States, as well.

“These videos are for people of all literacy levels and the great advantage of this approach is we can easily add new languages,” he said. “The approach we have taken could easily be used for outreach programs and would allow for a cost-effective manner to deploy information to many different language groups in the state; potentially at a fraction of the price of some traditional extension approaches.”

SAWBO animations could be an additional resource for some Hispanic populations within the state who do not speak English, expanding the videos’ target to include populations with language barriers. Pittendrigh said, “If, or when, resources become available to do work within the state, we would welcome the opportunity to focus on critical issues that are much closer to home.”

However, for now, SAWBO has progressed in the six months since it launched. Pittendrigh said the team has received numerous requests from international development agencies, as well as multiple agencies in Illinois, for videos regarding dozens of topics anywhere from HIV/AIDS, to child safety concerns.

The team will be launching a donation campaign and website soon to help meet the needs required to create more videos. The SAWBO website can be found at http://sawbo.illinois.edu, the donations page at http://sawbo.illinois.edu/donate.htm, and a YouTube animation explaining the program can be found at http://youtu.be/JjtOHFFJSpc.

“To date, all videos from SAWBO, once developed, have been given freely to the world, so that educators around the world can freely access these materials to get critical information out into the hands of people that need it the most,” Pittendrigh said.

The Illinois SAWBO faculty/staff team consists of Barry Pittendrigh, Francisco Seufferheld, Julia Bello-Bravo, as well as entomology graduate students Laura Steele and Tolulope Agunbiade.


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